Jul 21, 2018
Editor's Note: Starting July 7 and running through the rest of the month, Tommiesports.com will highlight 25 memorable events from St. Thomas' successful 2017-18 athletics year
Fast Finish on Ice
Tommie Women's Hockey came into 2017-18 knowing it was unable to pursue a usual team goal -- winning the MIAC playoffs and advancing to the NCAA tournament.
St. Thomas had already self-imposed a penalty of no postseason play after the team had an alcohol-related incident in March 2017.
That penalty ended a streak of four consecutive MIAC playoff crowns/NCAA playoff berths.
Coach Tom Palkowski's team had to accept the situation and chase another goal -- an MIAC regular-season championship. Palkowski added two skilled assistant coaches in Marty Sertich and Alexandra Kleinhuizen and encouraged his veterans to bring leadership and focus.
St. Thomas played its best hockey in the final stretch and was able to tie Gustavus for the championship. Senior All-America and MIAC Player of the Year Allison Borgstrom switched positions from defense to forward to help the cause. Borgstrom won the program's 13th All-America honor in the last 15 seasons.
The Tommies went unbeaten in their last 13 games with an 8-0-5 closing run in January and February. They also went 5-0-3 in their last eight road games.
Backup goalie Paige Kittelson stepped in for a spell to relieve injured Kenzie Torpy and went 5-0-2 during the closing 8-0-5 unbeaten streak. Over the last 11 games, sophomore Rachel Werdin contributed 13 goals and eight assists, and freshman Alyssa Wallace added seven goals and eight assists.
St. Thomas' 16-3-6 final record made it 18 consecutive winning seasons for the program. The three season losses set a program record for fewest defeats. The stingy Toms allowed two or less goals in 19 of 25 contests.
Over the last five seasons St. Thomas has won all four MIAC playoff titles it competed in, and won or shared three of five conference regular-season championships.
Now the 2018-19 Toms can return to a familar goal of making another postseason playoff run.
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